Superstar Interviews: Niall SheehyDate: 23 July 2012
Many people wonder what they should do when they have a week off, but for Niall Sheehy the answer was quite simple – he auditioned for Superstar. Sadly he didn’t make it to the end of the search but he’s quite philosophical about the journey and is looking forward to what the future may bring.
How were the auditions and the first elimination stages for you?
Well actually I had quite a stressful time of it because, as many people know, I was on tour with Spamalot and we’d been given a week off to take a holiday. As with a lot of touring companies, you just break for a week rather than everyone take the time away and it just so happened that, during that week, the Superstar auditions were taking place. So I said to myself that I’d go in and audition, I mean you know how many good and talented people go in so I hadn’t really given myself much hope of getting particularly far.
So I did the first audition on the Monday of the week off and it was in the last set of auditions before the callbacks and, when I was lucky enough to get through, they told me that the callback would be on the Sunday – which was still on my break. I thought that it was great timing because I could do that and, as I probably wouldn’t get through, I could still go back to work on Monday. But, after I went in and did the recall, they told me that I was through to the boot camp stage and my first reaction was – oh no, that’s a disaster.
That must have been a really weird combination of happiness and sadness.
Yes, exactly. It really was because I was shocked and amazed that I had made it through but it was a genuine thing that all I could think about was how I could make it there. On the Monday I called the people at Spamalot and I explained what had happened and everything. I had decided, in my head, that, as I was under contract, if they said I wasn’t able to go then that was it but, at the same time, I was hopeful that we could work something out.
Thankfully ATG were really thrilled for me and they also told me that there was a member of the previous cast who was able to come back in so they were able to release me from the contract and enable me to take the chance. The only condition was that I would have to leave the show to do it, just so the integrity of Spamalot wasn’t compromised. I complete understood what they were saying and so, there I was at that weird moment where I had to make a decision as to whether it was a gamble worth taking or whether I should stay in the cast,
I suppose that, with all the TV exposure that you have had through the live shows, you’re happy that you made the right decision.
It really was the right choice, yes. Obviously I felt really bad about leaving the show but the guys were really supportive of me, the cast and the crew, and ATG were very supportive too so I am sure it was the right thing to do. I know I would have beaten myself up if I had been sitting at home, watching the live shows, and wondering whether or not I would ever have made it that far. So I made the decision that, if I wasn’t getting kicked out, if I wasn’t getting a “No”, then I had to keep going for it.
How much pressure is there with the live shows?
Actually, the pressure I felt was in the weeks prior to the live shows. By the time we got to the shows themselves the work had already been done and all you had to do was to put on a performance for a few minutes. There was a bit of pressure in that, with the show being on consecutive nights, we had to learn every song prior to the first show going out and so we all knew that we were learning songs that there was a chance we would never get to sing if we went home.
For instance, last night I was watching the show on TV and I knew what number I should have been singing and it was really weird to think “I’m not going to get to sing that now”. There was a lot to learn with the routines, and the staging of the songs and even just making sure that you look after yourself by eating properly and staying in shape. The preparation for all that was a really tough slog, but really enjoyable too.
As you are watching it, with the knowledge of the songs that were ahead of you, do you wonder what might have happened if the numbers had been in a different order?
To be honest, I think I was unlucky and I would hate this to sound like I am making excuses for myself but I was really happy with how I had prepared for the live shows and then, unfortunately, over the last couple of days before we went on air, I picked up a really heavy cold with all the aches and pains and fluey symptoms.
It steadily got worse through the week and, I guess I could have complained and asked that I could have had a different song or a different routine but, when the time came, I just didn’t feel fit enough to put on, what I considered to be a performance that meant I could do well. If anything, given the circumstances, I think I did better than I expected.
Now that we are down to the last five, who is your favourite?
Obviously, I would never pick a favourite because, over the weeks we were together, I got really close to a lot of the guys who have already gone and just as close to the ones who are still in there. There is no way that I could even begin to pick someone that I wanted to win.
Rory Taylor is my best friend in the competition, I’ve been close to him from the get go, and we’ve been sharing a room and we are going to be friends forever so, from that point of view, I am most certainly cheering Rory on but not to the extent that I don’t want one of the other guys to win it, it’s just that Rory’s my best mate in there.
Has anything happened for you since you were eliminated?
I’m still waiting to find out what time I start rehearsals for Raoul and Marius because I’m assuming that Andrew Lloyd-Webber was offering me those parts straight out! But, seriously, no, nothing has happened yet. Obviously we are heading into the weekend so it’s all quiet but I am just looking forward to getting back out there and auditioning for something else. I know it might sound silly but I do enjoy the audition process.
I didn’t go on the show to make sure I have an easy ride for the rest of my life. I think it will, maybe, help me out with a bit more profile and if that helps me get more auditions then maybe I can get back in there and hope I can do something. I never expected that, once the show finished, I would just be offered work, I don’t think anything works that simply.
Maybe the people behind the Technicolour Dreamcoat will be calling you?
You never know. It’s quite funny that a few people were saying how I look a bit similar to Lee Mead and, you never know if one of those shows might come along but, like I said, I’m more than happy to wait and see what happens and I’m really looking forward to getting out there and auditioning for anything that comes along.
It’s an unfortunate situation for a few of us that quite a few shows have just re-cast so from that point of view there’s that little bit of a wait to see what’s coming next for me, but I will be delighted to look into anything that comes my way.